Tuesday, May 10, 2011

CrossFit Total

I last did the CrossFit total test in December of last year. I scored a total of 740 pounds, with a 300 pound squat, a 125 pound press and a 315 pound deadlift. That day, I was very disappointed in my deadlift. My PR had been set a year before at 355 pounds, and I failed at multiple attempts above 315. Yes, it was at the end of a tough workout, but I was simply disappointed by that final lift.

In the past week, I've been thinking a lot about my potential for getting close to 800 pounds this time around. I thought my best chance was to match my squat at 300, improve my press to 135 and then tie my new deadlift PR of 365. That last lift, coming at the end of the workout, would be a challenge. So, one of my goals for the first two lifts was to minimize my reps, saving as much as I could for a big deadlift to end the day.

For the squat, I did 5 reps with just the bar, then 2 at 135, 1 at 215, 1 at 275 as a fallback, and then jumped to 305. I did the rep at 305, but felt that my depth was not acceptable. So, I didn't count that rep. Next I tried 315 and made the lift, but again, the depth was not OK.

Outside of CrossFit, I do squats in a squat rack, and a failure simply means the bar catches the weight for you and you walk away. At CrossFit, you have to sit down to bail from a lift, and if you get forced forward at all, you can easily get hurt. So, I was clearly being tentative in my depth, somewhat afraid of getting hurt if I got stuck in the down position.

So, I rested for a few minutes, spent the time visualizing a solid, deep squat at 315. I walked to the bar and got under it. I set my grip and my elbows to give myself a solid shelf on my back to hold the bar. I picked it up and stepped back, keeping my head up the entire time. I set my stance by feel - looking down would not help. And, I went to my full depth for a squat. At first, I barely moved coming up, but I got a bit faster and it was clear I'd make it. PR in the squat and already 15 pounds above my projection.

Next was the press. I warmed up at 45, did one rep at 95, one at 115, and then jumped straight to 135 - my target for the day. I could tell that with just the tiniest dip and drive, I'd get it overhead, but that would not be a strict press. The bar started to go up, but it halted and I failed. I rested and did a 125 to match my best. That went easy. Another attempt at 135 went nowhere. So did another. By that point in time, I was tired, and even though I tried 130, it was too late. If I hadn't been greedy, I think I could have pulled off a 130, but I was too focused on the goal of 135.

So, after two lifts, I had 440. That meant I need a deadlift over 300 to get a new all-time best, and I needed a 360 to get to 800 pounds. I did two reps at 135, one at 225, and one at 315. All of them were easy. I now had a new PR, so I went straight to 365 next, which would give me an 805 for the workout. I nailed that one, much better overall than the same weight two weeks ago.

At that point, I had exceeded my primary goal for the workout. I had beaten my squat PR, and tied my PR in the other two lifts. I decided I'd try 375 for a deadlift, but it never came off the ground. I'm not sure if my effort was poor or I was simply beat.

All in all, it was a successful night. I increased my CFT total by 8.7% in five months. At age 49.

When the workout started yesterday, third place on our gym board for this workout was 880 pounds. Third place is now in the 900s. I've got a lot of work to do if I ever want to make the top 3, a category dominated by young, strong, skinny kids.

After the workout, I talked to a local chiropractor who has been at the gym twice a week. He is trying to help the CF crowd, by offering adjustments, Graston, ART, and info on Chi Running. I talked to him about my shoulder injury, and he feels that Graston is an appropriate treatment for my injury. I'm sure it will hurt a lot, but we are going to start a series of six Graston treatments on my rotator cuff injury next week.

When he found out that I've been a distance runner (I don't feel like I am one at this point in time) with a history of leg injuries (ACL, hamstring tendon tear), he tried to recruit me for a multi-session Chi Running class. I told him that I might be interested, but not quite yet. I don't want to be altering my running gait eight weeks out from a marathon.

Tonight's workout is short intervals on the track - 4x100, 4x200, 4x100. Plus I rode my bike home from work last night and into the office this morning.

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